Florida Nuisance Alligator Hotline: What to do if you see an alligator

Whether you visit Florida on vacation or you enjoy the sunshine year-around, alligators and crocodiles are part of life here. It's estimated that there are 1.3 million alligators of every size across Florida's 67 counties, including in marshes, lakes, rivers, and retention ponds. 

While attacks themselves are considered to be rare, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, they do happen. Since 2000, there have been 205 alligator bites reported, of which 16 were deadly, according to FWC data.

So, what do you do if you see an alligator?

Florida Nuisance Alligator Hotline

The state of Florida has a Florida Nuisance Alligator Hotline where people can report nuisance alligators – and have a licensed trapper come out to remove the reptile. The Florida Nuisance Alligator Hotline number is 866-FWC Gator, or 866-392-4286.

According to the FWC's website, "an alligator is deemed a nuisance if it is at least 4 feet in length and the caller believes it poses a threat to people, pets or property." This also includes alligators that end up in places you do not want them to be, such as in swimming pools, garages, or on the front porch.

However, alligators that are smaller than four feet are not considered to be a nuisance alligator because they are "not large enough to be dangerous to people or pets," the FWC said.

Alligators are not relocated once captured; they are euthanized. The FWC said removing nuisance alligators does not have a significant impact on the overall gator population in Florida, and alligators would have to be relocated to remote areas where other alligators may live and have already determined their social structures.

FWC: Alligator safety tips for Florida residents

  • Never feed an alligator
  • Keep pets away from water's edge
  • Swim during the day and in designated areas
  • If you see an alligator, keep you distance